We live in anxious and fearful times. The virus which seemed under control seems not to rage out of control.

There are times when life seems to cave in. Many feel stabbing grief, while others tremble.

Some have suggested that the heart is a cup to be emptied of emotions. Yet, we cannot pour out the feelings and emotions are like stale coffee.

Scott Swain suggests another image.

The heart is a balance-beam scale, resembling the statue of Lady Justice. It weighs different ideas and positions to create equilibrium.

Encouragement is a counterweight on the other end of the scale heavy with pain, grief, and anxiety. Swain says:

I know your heart is (rightly) heavy with sorrow due to the loss of some good thing(s), that it is overwhelmed by present circumstances, that it is uncertain of what tomorrow may bring. However, let me offer you a counterweight, not to remove these emotions (the cup metaphor) but to place them in relation to a larger reality: the reality of God’s sovereign goodness, attention, and purpose, which offer solid reasons for encouragement and hope in the midst of trial.

The heart’s weight remains, but something balances it out…the care of God and others.

In tough times remember Joshua’s dilemma. He had taken over from the revered Moses. New and challenging territory lay ahead. He had people unsuited for waging the coming battle. And yet, God told him:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

In tough times, balance your fear with faith. And while you are doing that, lay a heavier weight of encouragement on others who hurt.

-Robert G. Taylor-